The agreement would secure the basic rights of Nokia’s employees world-wide.

The unions presented their proposal on Tuesday in Helsinki at a press conference where a research report was published on working conditions in the Nokia plant in Mexico.

The unions point out that since 2002 they have with meagre results recommended to Nokia to start negotiations with the International Metalworkers’ Federation IMF on setting up a Framework Agreement. The unions think that the scale and the international significance of Nokia operations require that this agreement finally be signed.

Not a single Finnish company has yet signed a Framework Agreement whereas e.g. five Swedish big companies have already done so. In all, 35 European multinational companies have negotiated a Framework Agreement.

FA would improve Nokia’s image

The trade unions of the Technologies Industry think that Nokia should make the first move among the Finnish global companies. The Framework Agreement would have a strong positive impact on the international image of Nokia, the trade unions judge.

Instead of a Framework Agreement Nokia at present applies its own international ethical code of conduct.

The Framework Agreement would be a quantum leap compared with the ethical code of conduct. The problem of ethical codes is that they have been unilaterally established by the employers and they are hardly binding or monitored. Mere ethical principles will not work unless the personnel are included in the setting up and follow up of them. In setting up and monitoring a Framework Agreement trade unions are always included, the unions remind.

Based on the research work done on the Nokia plant in Mexico the unions fear that the company employees in low wage countries are not aware of regulations and that they have no real chance to express their opinion on how these regulations are followed.

In the newly published study the trade unions as well as the Solidarity Centre of Finnish Trade Unions SASK had asked a Mexican working life research institute to examine how Nokia’s own ethical principles were implemented in its cell phone plant in Reyona, Mexico, and what kind of working conditions the Finnish company offers in a country long known as a low wage labour provider.